India has emerged as the “first responder” to countries hit by natural disasters in “any part of the world”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on February 20, 2023.
Mr. Modi congratulated the 99-member self-contained Indian team that returned from quake-hit Turkey where it operated a fully-equipped Field Hospital in Iskenderun, Hatay and treated around 4,000 patients.
“When one can help themselves, we call it self-sufficient. But when help is offered voluntarily, it can be described as selfless. India has not only become self-sufficient during the last few years but has also established itself as a selfless nation...We have always been the first responder to any calamity in any part of the world,” said the Prime Minister felicitating the entire team that consisted of personnel from the NDRF and the defence forces.
India responded within hours to the unfolding humanitarian requirements in the aftermath of the February 6 earthquake and flew a relief and rescue team to help the people in the disaster-hit zone in Turkey. Similarly, aircraft carrying relief material and medicines were dispatched to Syria under the move officially named “Operation Dost”. Mr. Modi said India has consistently carried out similar relief and rescue missions in multiple places in the recent years.
“Operating Ganga is an example of self-sufficiency as we were able to rescue our students as well as other foreign nationals. We also rescued people from Afghanistan in an unprecedented situation and got our citizens home safely,” said Mr. Modi recollecting the evacuation of nationals of multiple countries after war broke out in Ukraine in February 2022 and after the takeover of power by the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2021. Mr. Modi said the move to assist Turkey and Syria is a “reflection of the preparedness of our rescue and relief teams”.
“The Indian tricolour became a shield not just for Indian citizens who were trapped in Ukraine but also for nationals of many other countries. During the Covid pandemic we supplied medicines and vaccines to those countries who were in a difficult situation. That is why, across the world, there is a good will for India,” said Mr. Modi praising the personnel from NDRF and other government outfits who participated in Operation Dost in Turkey and Syria.
“I appreciate the NDRF’s efforts and the country is assured of your preparedness. But I would request you all to not stop on this and continue to enhance your capabilities so that NDRF becomes the best rescue and relief team in the world,” the Prime Minister said while also recollecting his personal memories regarding natural calamities like the 1979 flood in Morbi, Gujarat and the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. Mr Modi said, India has become both “self-sufficient” and “selfless” in the recent years.
“Whether it is Turkey or Syria, we consider the entire world a family,” said Mr. Modi.